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It’s a Miracle

Recently someone I know well said that it was a miracle when an elderly relative did not catch Covid after another member of the household had tested positive. I was a little taken aback by the use of the term. I acknowledge that this outcome was a beneficial occurrence and that gratitude is an appropriate response. What happened might also be described as improbable, but it wouldn’t be something that I would have called miraculous.

Petitionary Prayer

There are passages of scripture that will mess up your thinking if you take them at face value. Take, for example, Mark 11:24. The verse says, “So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” If you take this verse to be stating a simple fact, then making a prayer request sounds like writing an already-signed blank check where you simply fill in the amount.

Signs and Wonders

My sense that what is claimed is ridiculous is often an immediate reaction. I suspect that most people have had similar experiences. But it is also clear that what one person thinks outlandish can seem to another to be true or possibly true. In other words, we all have a sense of what is believable, but some of us find plausibility in what others think is not worth considering.

Did That Really Happen?

There is a better way than adopting the literalist readings of either Dawkins or conservative defenders of everything ascribed to God in biblical stories. Just as we might acknowledge that a biblical writer can have an overly anthropomorphic view of God, we can say that a biblical writer can have a view of God that is morally deficient, which comes from common ways of thinking about deity at the time.